Passport prices flying high thanks to 15 per cent hike

Australians will have to shell out nearly $400 for a new passport after another increase was announced in the mid-year budget update.

Along with routine annual indexation in line with the consumer price index, travellers will be hit with a 15 per cent increase to passport application on July 1.

Applying September’s annual CPI rate of 5.4 per cent, it would see the price of an adult 10-year passport go from $325 to around $394 midway through next year.

In comparison, New Zealanders pay $192 for a decade-long passport, while Canadians pay about $179.

The government said the measure would raise $349 million across three years with the revenue redirected to other priorities in the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the increase was “relatively modest” considering the extra security benefits the cash would bring.

“The funds from this one-off increase are all about making sure we can resource our passport systems and make them modern and fit for purpose, especially at a time where there are ongoing threats to people's security and their identity,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“What is a relatively modest change to passport fees … will mean the new cost of an ordinary Australian adult passport is still less than $40 a year over that 10-year period.”

The Foreign Affairs department said the extra fees would be used to modernise passport systems, pointing out Australian passport holders get visa-free access to more than 100 countries.

“This will ensure that Australia can stay ahead of the game in addressing rapidly evolving and more sophisticated threats to identity security,” a department spokesperson told AAP.

“The Australian passport is respected internationally as a high-quality travel document … it has a high level of technological sophistication, backed by rigorous anti-fraud measures, which ensures its integrity.” 

Opposition tourism spokesperson Kevin Hogan said it was the second passport rise in a year, and added to a $10 rise in departure tax when leaving Australia and higher airfares.

“Tourism and trade are critical for our economy, employing thousands of Australians and particularly in regional and rural Australia,” Mr Hogan said in a statement.

“This reinforces the fact that Labor doesn’t care about our regions, is increasing costs for consumers and damaging critical sectors in the economy.”

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